Liverpool Airport celebrates 90th birthday

Since 1933 Liverpool John Lennon Airport has welcomed millions of passengers, from The Beatles to Mother Teresa, and this weekend celebrated its 90th birthday. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool Airport
Liverpool Airport was first opened in 1933 with a big civic ceremony


Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) held a number of activities on Saturday to mark 90 years since the first flights took off.

It was on July 1, 1933 that the airport, then just called Liverpool Airport, was officially opened. Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, Secretary of State for Air, was guest of honour at the civic ceremony which also featured a civil air display.

Saturday’s celebrations included the placing of a time capsule in the terminal, to be opened in 2058 on its 125th anniversary.

There was also be a big birthday cake in the departure lounge with cupcakes for passengers to enjoy, while listening to a birthday DJ who’ll be playing popular songs throughout the day.

Birthday messages from a host of local well known faces and business organisations appeared on social media on Saturday too. And popular aviation YouTube channel, Airliners Live, staged a special livestream starting at around 11am.

Liverpool was one of the UK’s first airports and at the forefront of aviation in the region for many years. There has been significant change over the past nine decades both in terms of levels of business, the location of the terminal building and the runway.

The converted farmhouse that was originally used as the airport terminal, was soon replaced in the late 1930s by the famous art deco terminal building and control tower, which has since become a hotel.

Today, passengers use the terminal that was officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 2002. This has since undergone further developments. It was renamed after Beatle John Lennon in 2001.

After enduring the toughest period in its history during the COVID pandemic, LJLA is now well on the way to recovery. In May LBN revealed a year-on-year rise in passenger numbers to 3.77m in the 12 months to March 31, 2023.

With Ryanair, easyJet and Lufthansa all significantly pushing up capacity on existing routes, and launching new ones, the airport could see passenger numbers return to pre-pandemic levels this year.

In February this year Ryanair announced four new routes out of Liverpool in an £80m investment that will see overall capacity increase by 15% and create 30 new jobs. It will take the total number of routes to 31 and will see a new aircraft based at LJLA.


The Beatles
The Beatles arriving at Liverpool Airport in 1964
Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa being welcomed at Liverpool Airport in 1996


Its main rival easyJet has upped its capacity by almost 20%. It is increasing frequencies to popular destinations including Alicante, Antalya, Belfast, Bodrum, Dalaman, Izmir, Heraklion, Jersey, Kos, Larnaca, Malaga, Nice and Tenerife.

In late April Aer Lingus returned to Liverpool for the first time since 2016 with a new route to Dublin. Emerald Airlines, which operates Are Lingus’s regional services, will offer 11 departures a week to the Irish capital.

And in May it was announced the airport will see 20 new European destinations added in spring 2024 with the arrival of the UK’s third-biggest airline and largest tour operator, Jet2.

Tom Woods, LJLA’s digital marketing executive who has organised Saturday’s celebrations, said: ”This weekend we’ve got a programme of activity, both in the terminal and online, to celebrate 90 years of Liverpool Airport.

“It’s a fantastic occasion and a great opportunity to celebrate nine incredible decades.

“It is important that we take the time to properly mark occasions like this and pay homage to all of the passengers and staff that have helped make the airport a great place to work and travel from over the years.”

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